The men’s basketball team will be without sophomore guard Zay Jackson for the entire 2013-14 season.
Jackson suffered a torn ACL during a practice last Saturday and the severity of the injury was confirmed by an MRI Monday morning.
Jackson was expected to start at point guard for the Racers.
The injury will require surgery and several months of rehabilitation before Jackson will be able to return to the court.
“(Jackson) will have surgery in a couple of weeks on his ACL,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “We’ll repair it and he’ll start rehabbing it and we’ll get him back and get him healthy.”
Prohm said the Racers will now turn to freshman Cameron Payne to run the offense. The 6-foot-2-inch athlete was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee, averaging 20 points and 10 assists during his senior season at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn.
Payne was rated the 41st best point guard in the class of 2013 by ESPN.com and is one of the most highly touted recruits in the incoming Murray State recruiting class.
“We were going to start (Payne) off the ball this year,” Prohm said, “but I’m very encouraged about what he can do. He’s got great character and great intangibles and IQ for the game so I’m excited about the kind of season that he can have. I have a lot of confidence in Cam.”
With the start of the season just three weeks away, Prohm and his team will look for several freshmen and junior college transfers to step into more significant roles.
“We’ll get through this as a team and stay strong and focused,” Prohm said. “We’ll have faith and handle ourselves in the right way. That’s why we’ve been successful not just the last two years, but since I’ve been part of this program. That’s why we’ll continue to be successful.”
As for Jackson, it will be his second straight season away from the court. He missed all of the 2012-13 season due to legal issues stemming from an altercation in a Walmart parking lot.
“I’m going to continue to encourage (Jackson) because he has a bright future,” Prohm said. “I know he’s been through a lot of trials and tribulations with the situation last year, his father recently passed away and now this. I love Zay and we’ll support him.”
Unlike last season, however, Jackson will be a part of the team. He will travel with his teammates and serve in a coaching role during practices.
“Zay will be an encourager and mentor to the younger players,” Prohm said. “What he can do is help the younger guys and teach them and kind of be like another assistant coach. He’ll do a great job in trying to build these guys up.”
The Racers will prepare for an exhibition against Freed Hardeman Nov. 2 before kicking off the season with a road game against a Valparaiso team that defeated the Racers at the CFSB Center a season ago.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff Writer